Opening This Week

City of Gold
Yay! A new one from Hand2Mouth, about America's long, dark history with gold, and featuring "avalanche, deluge, drought, poisoned arrows, massacres," and plenty more. Goldsmith Building, 10 NW 5th, 235-5284, Thurs-Sun 8 pm, through Mar 26, $8-15 sliding

Cirque Du Soleil: Varekai
The latest incarnation of the only circus that doesn't suck is set "deep within a forest, at the summit of a volcano." The Grand Chapiteau (a big blue and yellow tent), 2750 SW Moody, 1-800-678-5440, opens Mar 14, runs Tues-Sat 8 pm, Fri-Sat 4 pm, Sun 1 & 5 pm, $35-129.50

One Week Only

The Merchant of Venice
PSU brings five veterans of the London stage to perform this rendition of Shakespeare's classic, hailing from a few decent little organizations like the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Globe Theatre. If you're a fan of good acting, you'll probably want to check 'em out. Lincoln Hall, PSU, SW Broadway & Market, 725-3307, 8 pm Mar 15, 17-18, $6-19

Closing This Week

If a play about a cloistered nun composing religious music sounds boring, go with your gut: Rapture, as produced by the still-unproven new company Stumptown Stages, is one of the most unwatchable productions to grace a Portland stage in recent memory. AH Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 381-8686, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, ends Mar 12, $22

Current Runs

Going to St. Ives
The women-centric Integrity Productions presents this rendition of Lee Blessing's play about the meetings between a ruthless African dictator and a prominent British ophthalmologist. Sounds like the pilot for a Fox sitcom. THEATER! THEATRE!, 3430 SE Belmont, 286-3456, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 4 pm, $5-15


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
See My, What A Busy Week! on page 23. Arlene Schnitzer Hall, SW Broadway & Main, 790-2787, 7:30 pm Mar 14-15, $19-60


The Liberators
Advertising itself as a long-form improv "super group," The Liberators feature local stalwarts Tony Marcellino, Julie Sparling, and John Breen, among others. ComedySportz Arena, 1963 NW Kearney, 236-8888, Fri 10 pm, $5